White Sox

NBC Sports Chicago to air “Harold Baines: Welcome to Cooperstown” special

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NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago to air “Harold Baines: Welcome to Cooperstown” special

Chicago, IL (July 17, 2019) – As one of the greatest hitters in Chicago baseball history prepares for his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend, NBC Sports Chicago - THE Home of the #AuthenticFan - will provide viewers with a brand new special entitled Harold Baines: Welcome to Cooperstown, a half-hour NBC Sports Chicago Original Production that chronicles the brilliant career of the White Sox legend who spent 14 seasons on the southside of Chicago.  Hosted by NBC Sports Chicago’s multi-platform White Sox expert Chuck Garfien, Harold Baines: Welcome to Cooperstown premieres Friday, July 19 immediately following “White Sox Postgame Live” (9:30 PM CT time approx.).  (NOTE: Welcome to Cooperstown will also stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app; fans located anywhere in the U.S. can download MyTeams for free on iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.)  NBC Sports Chicago will also re-air the special on Sunday, July 21 at 11:00 AM, 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM, the day of Baines’ Hall of Fame induction.

Produced and edited by NBC Sports Chicago’s Emmy-award winning Senior Producer of Original Content Ryan McGuffey, Harold Baines: Welcome to Cooperstown celebrates the remarkable 22-year MLB career of one of the greatest players to ever don a White Sox uniform.  Baines, who finished his career with 2,866 hits, opens up to Garfien about being selected #1 overall in the 1977 MLB Draft by the White Sox, why he still hasn’t spoken with Larry Himes since the trade that sent him to Texas in 1989, having his number retired by the White Sox while still being an active player, the apology that President George W. Bush gave him when the 2005 White Sox visited the White House and why he believes baseball writers left him out of the HOF prior to being selected by the Veterans Committee last December.  A six-time All-Star, Baines ranks third in White Sox history with 221 HR, only Paul Konerko and Frank Thomas have more. 

In addition to the exclusive, candid interview with Baines, Welcome to Cooperstown also includes interviews with White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Baines’ former teammate, 1983 AL “Rookie of the Year” and current White Sox community relations ambassador Ron Kittle.

Please note the following quotes from the NBC Sports Chicago Original Production of Harold Baines: Welcome to Cooperstown, hosted by Chuck Garfien, debuting Friday night, July 19 immediately following “White Sox Postgame Live” (9:30 PM CT, time approx.):

BAINES on being able to play 22 seasons in the big leagues: “I didn’t have anything to fall back on. I didn’t go to college. I was a high school kid who was in the right spot at the right time…and took my father’s advice and put my head down and went to work. You need a lot of luck. I had a lot of injuries, but I was fortunate enough to do enough to keep people interested in my talents.”

BAINES on being traded to Texas in 1989: “I wasn’t happy about it. (‘Who traded you?’) Larry Himes…and I still haven’t spoken to him. We haven’t spoken to each other, not even when I got traded. Jeff Torborg told me I got traded. It hurt a lot…and then you come back a month later and they retire your number. How do you figure that?!”

BAINES on President George W. Bush saying that trading Sammy Sosa for Baines was the worst thing he had done as an adult: “He actually apologized to me at the White House when we went there after we won (the 2005 World Series), and he sent me a congratulations letter when I got put in the Hall of Fame, and I have it framed.”

REINSDORF on Baines being inducted into the Hall of Fame: “A great deal of joy. The fact is he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame and I wish he had gone in sooner. Clearly, it’s a great thing for Harold and great thing for our organization.”

REINSDORF on Baines being traded to Texas in ‘89: “I remember calling Harold after it was completed and I remember being in tears on the phone talking to him…and then of course on the next trip in, when the Rangers came in, I retired his number.”

KITTLE on Baines being just shy of 3,000 career MLB hits: “What is he, 150 or some hits shy of 3,000? I would have given him my hits to get him to 3,000 and I wouldn’t do it for another person who’s ever played baseball.”

BAINES on how his life will be different after being inducted into the Hall of Fame: “I’ll still go back to my little small town of St. Michael’s (Maryland) and live my life. It won’t change that much. I can probably make a change, but I’m 60 years old and I’m not trying to get any busier. I’m trying to go the other way.”

For a full recap of this weekend’s Hall of Fame festivities in Cooperstown and the very latest White Sox news, videos, podcasts, and more, fans are urged to visit NBCSportsChicago.com/WhiteSox and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

NBC Sports Chicago, a partnership between the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago Cubs (MLB), Chicago White Sox (MLB) and the NBC Sports Group, features over 275 live pro games in high definition each year.  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago delivers extensive pre/post-game coverage for its core pro team partners, as well as Chicago Bears postgame coverage, local sports discussion programs that includes SportsTalk Live, and massive cross-platform coverage provided by the network’s growing digital platform, NBCSportsChicago.com, the new “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app, and its variety of fan-focused social media outlets. Fans can follow the network on Twitter via @NBCSChicago.  

NBC Sports Regional Networks is NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of nine regional networks that delivers more than 2,200 live sporting events and original content to more than 35 million homes. Aligned within Eastern and Western Divisions, the NBC Sports Regional Networks are: NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia +, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Washington + and SNY; and NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago/NBC Sports Chicago+, and NBC Sports Northwest. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios, headshots and logos, please visit www.NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.

Dylan Cease shows off big velocity in first spring training start

Dylan Cease shows off big velocity in first spring training start

Dylan Cease is entering the 2020 season with plenty to prove. Considering how important he is to the future of the White Sox, it is perhaps fitting he was the first White Sox pitcher to take a mound in a spring training game.

On Saturday, Cease pitched two innings against the Cincinnati Reds as he ramps up to full strength. The most notable thing wasn’t how long he pitched or what his stat line was. It was his fastball.

Cease's fastball sat mostly at 96-98 mph and topped at 99. Cease quipped there could be a bit more in terms of his velocity.


Cease averaged 96.5 mph on his fastball in the majors in 2019. In 73 innings, he threw nine pitches that were at least 99 mph, topping out at 100.1 mph, according to Baseball Savant. He was capable of throwing that hard, but didn't do it often. For Cease to be on the higher end of his average and feature a 99 mph fastball in his first pitches of Cactus League baseball might be a sign that he could have added a touch more velocity.

It’s also just a two-inning spring training start, meaning Cease knew he could let fly a bit more in a shorter outing. Cease told reporters after his start he was focusing on his fastball command. He struck out three with no walks and three hits allowed.

In his rookie season, Cease struggled with command and consistency. He had a 5.79 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 35 walks over 14 starts.

February baseball doesn't carry any meaning, but this is a small encouraging sign for Cease.

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Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

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USA TODAY

Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

You can put to bed the rumors about free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig possibly signing with the White Sox. It’s not happening.

The two sides did get together during the MLB Winter Meetings in December. Kenny Williams, Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria met with Puig for about 90 minutes to discuss the possibility of the 29-year-old joining the White Sox as their everyday right fielder.

But instead, the White Sox chose to take a different route. That same week, they acquired Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers for minor league outfielder Steele Walker, ending any chance of Puig coming to the South Side.

“After our meeting we came away big Yasiel Puig fans, but he wasn’t the right fit for us then and he isn’t right now,” Williams said.

With spring training games starting this weekend and the regular season a little over a month away, fellow Cuban Jose Abreu says he’s surprised the flashy 29-year-old outfielder remains a free agent.

“Yes, I am (surprised). That’s one of those things that happen that you don’t understand. A guy with his talent. He’s still so young,” Abreu said through a translator. “He doesn’t have a team yet. It’s a surprise. I’m confident he’s going to find something this year.”

Even with Puig’s talent, Abreu looks around the White Sox clubhouse and agrees with the decision by the White Sox not to sign the former All-Star who hit .267/.327/.458 with the Reds and Indians last season.

“I don’t think he would be a good fit here. Don’t get me wrong. He has a lot of talent but we’re full," Abreu said. "Our outfield is looking great with Nomar (Mazara), Eloy (Jimenez) and (Luis) Robert. There’s no reason for us to make more moves in that area of our team. He’s someone who would fit in with any major league ball club because he has the talent to help any of those teams.”

What about possibly platooning Puig with Mazara in right field? On paper, that might sound like a good plan, although Puig has traditionally hit better against righties than lefties in his career. But a larger issue could be the timeshare. The idea of Puig, nicknamed “Wild Horse,” being forced to the stable for half the season could spell problems not only for him, but the chemistry inside the clubhouse.

“It would be difficult, especially for him being an everyday player,” Abreu said about Puig being a platoon player.  “When you have to make that decision, it’s not easy.”

So, where will Puig end up?  No one knows for sure but it won’t be with the White Sox.  

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